Following the inspection of chicken coops, it was time to bring the chicks home to Rwentojo.
This is always an exciting time. The chicks are two months old and at this age it is easy for anyone without prior experience of poultry farming to look after them.
For this round of the program, we reduced the number of participants and increased the number of chicks per participant.
The village Chairman was part of the house to house assessments to introduce us. He did a preselection of the women who are head of households in his village – most of them are widows but there are some who apparently cannot rely on their husbands either because they’re never around or they’re alcoholics.
We are keen on investing in women in this part of the country as most have no assets that would enable them to generate income.
The next steps will involve monitoring the farms to ensure that the women are looking after the chicks properly as this has implications for how well develop into hens.
The women will receive training on how to vaccinate the chicks, book keeping and marketing.
As we count down to the distribution day our Program Managers have been busy getting the women in Rwentojo ready. There have been several training sessions, coop construction and inspection and a lots of laughter along the way. Here are some pics from those activities.
In this session, the women learned about chicken feeding and farm management, in particular the importance of keeping the coops clean and dry
Following the training session, the doors to the chicken coops were distributed
Here is one of the finished chicken coops.. I bet they had fun putting this together.
Under a semi intensive poultry farming system, water is an important aspect in the care of the chickens, so drinkers are part of the equipment the women need on their farms
We expect that it will be 5 months before the hens start laying eggs and as such the women will not have sufficient income to feed the chicks before then. We have therefore included three months’ chickenfeed.
One of the lessons from phase 1 was that covering more than one village cell at a time was a strain on resources. For this reason, we are focusing on the village of Rwentojo. We will also have fewer participants and more chickens.
Our Project Managers worked with the village Chairman on identifying and interviewing. His preselected group included women who are head of households in his village such as widows as well as those who apparently cannot rely on their husbands either because they’re never around or are alcoholics.
It was interesting to note that some women excluded themselves from the project because they felt they could not give it their full commitment, whilst some worried about being able to provide materials for constructing chicken coops.
Our Project Managers were surprised by some of the women’s reactions and had this to say,
For once, it was so refreshing in a way to realise that people are not just willing to take things for free just cause someone is offering them but instead they are already thinking of the challenges they may face. This shows: a higher level of commitment and willingness only to join if they believe they are capable of committing to the project and in this case taking good care of the chickens; that they’re not used to getting things for free; and that they do really need the help we will be providing them.
In fact, one of them has told us we should leave her out as she spends most of her time digging (for others) and collecting fibres and grasses to weave baskets… We tried to convince her but she told us she would not forgive herself if any of her chickens died…It is a real shame as she could really use the help!
About some of the interviewees
Jovlet, she’s a 46 year-old widow who works other people’s land to get an income. She has 6 children but 4 of them already dropped out of school as she could not afford to continue paying school fees for them.
Anna, she’s a 40 year old widow who has 3 children and makes her monthly income selling sugar canes in a small trading centre
Sylvia, a mother of 5 and one more on the way. She’s married but her husband spends most of the money he makes burning charcoal on alcohol especially a local gin called Waragi
Topista, a 50 year-old widow who lives with two of her grandchildren. She spends her days digging and collecting fibres and grass to weave baskets. She doesn’t think she will be able to join the project as she will not have enough time to take care of the chickens.
Mariserina, a 40 year-old widow, who has 3 children one of whom is disabled. She is a coffee farmer and uses the income to pay her children’s fees. She is also a casual labourer on other people’s farms.
Annett is a 43 year old widow and mother of 4. She is a labourer and sues that income to pay her her children’s fees. She’s very proud that at least one of them has completed P7. Unfortunately, she cannot afford to send her child to a secondary school so she will be starting to work as a labourer like her in order to support the family.
The first training session on Poultry Farm Management and Housing took place on Monday. some amongst the group were in for a shock. They arrived late for the meeting and fellow participants required them to pay a fine. The group has also decided to form a management committee that will coordinate their affairs.
Phase 2 is now well and truly underway. Keep an eye on this space for updates
On this year’s International Women’s Day we launched the Send a Chicken program for 29 women and their families in Ruhanga. The program aimed to provide an asset to ultra poor women that they could use to generate an income and working capital that they could reinvestment. One of those participants was Night Barema.
Night spoke with one of our Program Managers and here is how they got on,
What is your name and how old are you?
N: Barema Night and I am 58 years old
Are you married?
N: I am a widow. My husband passed away 25 years ago
How many children have you got?
N: I have 6 children. They are all out of school. I live with my last born, Anita, who completed Primary 4 and then dropped out.
What is your level of education?
N: I didn’t go to school. My father didn’t think educating daughters was important so only the boys were sent to school. Night thinks her father didn’t go to Heaven because of this.
What was your life like growing up
N: I used to help the family in the gardens and raising animals. I was born in a village in Ntungamo sub-county and moved to Kakiizi when I was married off at the age of 16. I had my first child a year later.
How did you hear about LTHT?
N: I belonged to Kakiizi post-test which is a group of women concerned about HIV and I found out about LTHT when they called us for a meeting
Why did you join?
I wanted to be part of the chicken program because I thought it was an opportunity to learn something new and get additional income
What was your income before you joined the chicken program?
N: I used to make 10,000-20,000 UGX (£2.43- £4.87 per month)
How did you earn that income?
N: I had a sugar cane garden which I used to take care of and I sold the sugar canes by the road
What did you spend it on?
N: I spent it on soap, salt, sugar, and other basic needs for the household
What are you currently earning?
N: I am now making 70,000 UGX (£17.03 a month) from selling the eggs the chickens produce. I am no longer able to take care of the sugar cane garden so I have lost the income from selling sugar canes.
What percentage of your income is from the selling of eggs?
What has this income allowed you to do that you were not able to do before?
N: I am now saving 9,000 UGX (£2.19) per month and I have bought a goat. I am reinvesting most of my income in buying high quality feeds for her chickens
Do you consume some of the eggs?
N: No, I haven’t had a single one
Why did she buy a goat?
N: I bought a goat because they’re easy to raise and reproduce quite quickly
N: I would like to crossbreed my female with one of the dairy males so I can start drinking milk as I currently don’t
What are your aspirations?
N: I would like to have a more comfortable life, not having to work so hard anymore to cover my family needs. I would like to learn to write and read as I feel I missed a great opportunity in the past. I would also love learning to speak a bit of English.
What do they hope for their children?
N: I hope my children have a better life than me: get a good paying job, have a healthy family and live comfortably.
What changes would you like to see in you country in your lifetime that would affect you or the girls/women that follow?
N: I would like some factories to come to the area to produce sugar from sugar cane or dry pineapples, so jobs would be created and farmers would have easy access to market. I would also like to see more people having access to water.
After weeks of preparation the goats finally arrived.
Keeping them on the truck was not an easy task
Before distribution all goats had to be tagged, deworm them, provide a preventative antibiotic treatment to ensure their adjustment to the new area and environment goes smoothly and trim their hoofs.
This is Lydia from Nyamuhani. Lydia is one of the widows that received a goat from the goat loan project. She is also one of the people looking after one of the bucks for the goat breeding program. Her female goat is mature enough and she was encouraged to keep her together with the male for a couple of days… We may have our first kid on the way pretty soon.
Jovannis is from Kakiizi. She’s got experience raising goats and currently has 2 female goats that she’s hoping they get on heat soon so she can take them to Alejandro one of the pure breed male our project manager is hosting
Kalanzi, the JOY goat development trainer, has taught Osbert how to handle the goats for the different treatments – especially hoof trimming and injecting them.
Following the goat distribution, there was further training about the care of goats as well as record keeping, in particular how often the goats mate as well as proper feeding.
It has been exciting day in Ruhanga. The goats arrived.
As well as the goat loan project for widows, we have a dairy goat crossbreeding program. This program will enable owners of local goats in Itojo Sub-County to crossbreed them with purse breeds to produce 50% diary goats which ensure owners can access milk..
This is Ronaldo. he is a 9 months old Saanen and he will spend the next year and half in the village Kytinda mating goats from Kytinda and Rwentojo
This is Force. He is a 10 month old Toggenburgh. He will spend 18 months in Nyamiko and will mate with goats in Nyamiko, Kibingo and Rwemihanga.
Alejandro is a 10 month Alpine buck. He will be looked after by Os the program manager and will mate with goats in Migorora, Nyamuhani, Ruhanga and Kakiizi
These are some of the 50% females that were distributed to the widows.
The goats had to dewormed and tagged and treated for stress due to change of environment
The program manager will visit each goat tomorrow and provide a multivitamin shot to ensure proper transition to the new area.
We will provide further updates in the next few days. Keep an eye on this space..
The Diary goat projecthas kicked off in earnest. This week a trainer from Joy Goat Development arrived to provide training to the widows as well as those in the community who will benefit from the crossbreeding program.
Kalanzi Med, from JOY Goat Development, assessing the buck stations and providing guidance on how to build the feeding platform
Osbert -LTHT Project Manager and Joy Goat expert visiting Maria’s buck station. There is still a bit of work to do on her female goat house but now she’s got the knowledge how to finalise it properly
LTHT Project Manager explaining attendees about the type of fodder suitable to grow in our area which they can feed to their goats
Buck keeper training session – These guys are the role models of the cross breeding program. They will be responsible to keep our males healthy and active, identifying suitability of goats for mating and are empowered to turn down mating partners if they’re too young, too small or not healthy.
Buck keepers group photo in front of LTHT buck station + male kid collection pen.
In the next village, it was mostly women who turned up for training
These are the widows who are signed up to the goat project. They will receive a a female halfbreed kid to look after until it gives birth. The grown goat becomes the widow’s personal property and the kids are then passed on to another widow in the group
We anticipate that some of the kids will be male and this is where they will be looked after
In our next intervention, we revisited an issue we had been working on since 2014- Menstrual Hygiene Management. Our objective under this program is to ensure that girls and women manage their periods in a hygienic way. This involves ensuring that girls and women have access to information about menstruation as well as access to clean and safe menstrual absorbents.
This program also provides employment for three local young women. It is our ambition to ensure that this program is accessible to girls and women across the district of Ntungamo
Widows and the goat loan project
Under this project we are working in collaboration with the NGO Joy Goat Development, to introduce a new breed of dairy goats into Ruhanga parish. The main beneficiaries of this program are widows, who will receive a 50% cross breed female dairy goat as a loan. They will be responsible to care for the goat until it produces the first kid.
Once the first births are weaned, the off springs will be returned to LTHT and the women at that point will be given sole ownership over the initial goat. This goat will then become an asset that the woman can use to generate income, support herself and her family through;
continuous sale of the goat’s offspring,
sale of goat’s milk
or improve the nutritional intake of their family if they opt for personal consumption.
Once the kids have been returned to LTHT, the female goats will be given to the next widow, while the male goats will be sold, using the profits to purchase more female goats so the cycle continues even if on-going sponsorship is unavailable.
On top of that, the whole community will also benefit from this program via a cross breeding program. .
Local female goats will mate with pure male dairy goats with a view to creating off-springs that can produce a meaningful amount of milk. This will improve the community’s nutritional intake radically.
We will spend the next few weeks getting the community ready for this program before the goats arrive, Keep an eye on this space for updates.
Back in August 2015 we started on a journey to work with the women in Ruhanga SW Uganda on initiatives that would improve their incomes. By November we had settled on the idea of micro poultry farms for 29 women.
It has been an interesting journey so far that has seen women trained up in chicken feeding, coop building before being handed the chicks to look after on International Women’s Day
This is a typical chicken coop built from local materials. We provided wire mesh, nails doors and iron sheets and the women did the rest.
Each woman was given 70kg of quality feed for their chickens. This feed will cover the first three months. It is anticipated that the chicks will be let out for a couple of hours a day to supplement their diet with greens and insects. By the end of the three months the chickens should have started laying. The women will be able to afford the chicken feed themselves from the se hopefu
The chicks were very tired when they arrived from the breeder on International Women’s Day celebrations and needed vitamins. This is Maria distributing chicken Vitamins to the women.
Having worked on this from a distance, it was an absolute pleasure to be present at the launch by handing out chicks to women. I must say I was overwhelmed by the energy and atmosphere of the day.
Night Barayemura is one of the beneficiaries of this initiative. She’s 40 years old and has 7 beautiful children. As many others in the community, she’s a subsistence farmer and currently earns an average of £4 a month by selling some of her green bananas (matooke), beans and ground nuts (peanuts) around the village. Through this project, she’s hoping to provide a better diet for her family as they currently consume green vegetables twice a week and meat only on Christmas Day.
Following the distribution of the boxes, the carpenter was once again very busy making up 29 laying boxes. The boxes are very heavy and it was good see that men recognised this and stepped in to help their wives take the boxes home.
This program has benefited suppliers of services too
Denis (one in stripped polo shirt) is 32 years old and is married with three children. Currently, he has a team of 7 carpenters and apprentices who help him with different orders. They mostly build doors and seats. For the ‘Send a chicken to an African woman’ project, he built 15 feeders and 27 nest boxes. He reckons his profits were about 240,000 UGX, (£51.62) which he reinvested in materials for his workshop.
Ronald is 32 years old and is married with 3 children. He has benefited twice fold from the ‘Send a chicken to an African woman’ project. Some of the women asked him for help to build their chicken coops and LTHT contracted him to build 27 doors and 14 feeders. He hired two additional people to complete the job, at a rate of 10,000 UGX (£2.15) per day. He told us his net profit from the LTHT contract was 500,000 UGX (107.53), which he used to buy new materials for his business.
Ruth is 33 years old and has one daughter. Ruth is poultry and farmer and supplied 330 chicks to the project which meant increased income and a profit of UGX 1.3 (279.56). Ruth says that, the project has given her an opportunity to help her other women through sharing with them the knowledge about poultry keeping. This had always been her long time desire as she wants to see women work there way out of the poverty. In addition, the project has created awareness about her business thus expanding her clientele base.
In the next steps the women will learn about routes to market, book keeping and savings. If you would like to be updated as to the women’s progress sign up to our Newsletter or like our Facebook Page
There has been good progress with the chicken initiative. The local carpenters have been busy. The chicken coops are nearly done. Next on the agenda is coops inspections before the chickens arrive next month.
Drinkers and feeders ready to go. Feeders were hand made by Denis and Ronal our local carpenters
Participants in the chicken initiative collect their feeders and drinkers
Rovina and Linious excited to receive their feeders and drinkers… They told us they cannot wait for us to come and check their chicken coops